I think Mad Max is primarily about the roles and status of women. The whole plot of the film is driven by a woman trying to free several other women from slavery. Immortan Joe is immediately shown to be someone who treats women as objects. He has several women being milked, and he has five wives that he selected for breeding. This idea of using women for repopulating and breeding has been a recurring theme throughout the films we’ve watched in this class, and it never ends well. In 28 Days Later, the whole group of soldiers all get murdered Rambo-style by Jim. Dr. Strangelove proposes the idea, but we never see it actually occur because the whole world gets nuked. Snowpiercer doesn’t necessarily view women as a breeding tool, but it does view people as objects, and the whole train gets blown up and everyone dies. Following this trend, it’s no surprise that Joe gets his jaw ripped off by Furiosa. The only surprise here is that it’s Furiosa that kills him, and not Max.
28 Days Later is a good comparison for this point, because they revolve around the exact same idea: capture women and use them to reproduce, against their will. However, in 28 Days Later, which is older than Mad Max, Jim has to come to the rescue of the women, and he kills everyone and saves the day. Mad Max strays from this old view by making the women in the film strong, independent characters. Max is found chained up and muzzled like a helpless dog until the women help him cut the chains. Max can’t even drive the truck until Furiosa shows him how. He also barely speaks throughout the whole film. Furiosa is portrayed as the strong, blazing hero in this film. She’s the one who befriends everyone along the way and eventually kills our antagonist. She leads the wives back home and victoriously takes over the Citadel, while Max slowly fades into the crowd. Mad Max does an excellent job of portraying the women characters as strong and fierce throughout the film. Even the band of warriors they find out in the desert, the Vuvalini, are all women, and they play a crucial role in fighting alongside the party as they return to the Citadel.
How else do the women of Mad Max differ from the roles we’ve seen women play in previous films?